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New Mexico Tribes Ink 22-Year Gaming Agreement With Government
- April 14, 2015 By Nemanja L. -
Native American tribes in New Mexico have been handed a major boost in the quest to keep the casino doors open as Governor Susana Martinez signed a gaming compact that will ensure tribal casinos remain in business over the period of next 22 years.
The Legislature approved the pact last month and all that’s left now is for the United States Department of the Interior to approve the compact before it becomes valid.
Three-year Negotiations Ended Successfully
This concludes lengthy negotiations between the New Mexico government and Native American representatives that have lasted some three years. In the end, both sides had to make some concessions in order to reach an agreement.
According to the agreement, the state will have bigger control over the gaming activities of the tribes and will be granted access to financial information in order to ensure the other party complies with the terms of the compact.
The tribes also had to agree to increase the state’s stake in the gaming revenue, while they are required to invest a percentage of the earnings towards battling the problem gaming issues.
Persons attending the tribal casinos will for the first time have access to self-exclusion program designed to aid gambling addicts, whereas the state believe that greater transparency will further improve the gaming market in New Mexico.
Five Tribes Signed the Compact So Far
The five Native American tribes that took part in negotiations and later signed the compact include Pueblo of Acoma, the Pueblo of Jemez, the Jicarilla Apache Nation, the Mescalero Apache Tribe and the Navajo Nation.
The tribal chiefs were under extreme pressure to reach an agreement with the government as soon as possible given that current gaming compact was due to expire in June 2015, meaning that all existing casinos would have been forced to close its doors had the new compact not been agreed.
Governor Susana Martinez expects to see remaining tribes that operate casinos in the state to sign the compact as well, and ensure that New Mexico makes another important step towards having a fully regulated gaming market.
Tribal casinos in the United States have seen the slump in the revenue growth over the last couple of years, but the latest developments in New Mexico could provide a welcoming boost for tribal gaming in the country.